Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s resolve to overcome the difficulties posed by going for an unprecedented quadruple as a much-changed team beat Newcastle 1-0 to edge ahead of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Naby Keita scored the solitary goal at St. James’ Park to take the Reds two points clear of City, who can retake top spot when they travel to Leeds later on Saturday.
With the game sandwiched between two legs of a Champions League semi-final against Spanish side Villarreal, Klopp made five changes, including resting key players Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcan-tara, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
However, the Reds still controlled the game against one of the in-form sides in the Premier League and could have been far more convincing winners had Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota taken their chances.
“I thought it was a top-class game in extremely difficult circumstances,” said Klopp, who had voiced his anger at being handed a lunchtime kick-off just three days after facing Villarreal.
“That’s why I’m really happy. You want to win football games and in the best case you deserve to win. We did today 100 percent against a team in great form in a great atmosphere.”
Klopp had given Liverpool fans even more cause for celebration by extending his contract at Anfield by two years to 2026 on Thursday.
“For me it is a top week,” added the German, who is already the longest serving manager in the Premier League.
“I’m really happy that I signed a new contract. It is an incredible place with incredible people. It’s exactly what I want at a club I love. I don’t take these things for granted.—AFP